The Columbus Blue Jackets won their third straight game and moved into playoff contention with a 4-1 win over the injury-plagued Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
Rick Nash netted his team--leading 24th goal of the season and added an assist, while Steve Mason made 32 saves to contain the Penguins, who were playing without injured forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
The win allowed Columbus to avenge a 7-2 loss in December to the Penguins, which Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger said offered extra motivation in the latest contest.
“I was frustrated after that. That was embarrassing, especially for myself, people watching it back home and to see our team represented that way,” Umberger told reporters. “Tonight, it was in the back of our minds but, more than anything, the two points were first in our mind.”
Samuel Pahlsson, Jakub Voracek and Antoine Vermette also scored for Columbus, while Tyler Kennedy scored the lone goal for the Penguins, who lost on home ice for the first time in six games.
With the win, the Blue Jackets (26-22-5) moved to within four points of the Calgary Flames for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL’s Western Conference.
“We’re in the race now and we’re trying to climb in the standings,” Pahlsson said. “We need every point we can get.”
Pittsburgh (34-17-4) have lost two straight games and trail the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers by three points.
Crosby was out of the lineup for the 14th straight game with a concussion, while Malkin was lost last week to torn ligaments in his right knee.
Making matters worse, the Penguins lost Chris Kunitz, the team’s fourth-leading scorer, due to a lower-body injury.
DEVILS 3, HURRICANES 2, OT
In Newark, New Jersey, Mattias Tedenby scored his second goal of the game 2 minutes, 42 seconds into overtime as New Jersey continued their winning ways without goalie Martin Brodeur by beating Carolina.
Fellow rookie Nick Palmieri tied it with 2 minutes, 54 seconds to play in regulation and Johan Hedberg made 20 saves and picked up an assist on the game-winner.
Rookie Jeff Skinner had two goals for Carolina, which moved a point ahead of idle Atlanta in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
The 38-year-old Brodeur hurt his right knee in a win on Sunday over Montreal and is expected to be sidelined for a while.
SHARKS 2, CAPITALS 0
In Washington, Logan Couture became the first rookie to get seven game-winning goals on the road in a season when he broke a -scoreless tie with 8 minutes, 5 seconds to play to lift San Jose past the Washington Capitals.
Ben Eager led Couture just enough for the rookie center to take the pass in open ice at the left circle and put the shot through the legs of goaltender Michal Neuvirth.
Dan Boyle added another goal, this time from the right circle with 5 minutes, 53 seconds to go, as the Sharks extended their points streak to nine games and improved to 3-0 on their seven-game road trip.
In other NHL play, it was:
‧ Sabres 7, Lightning 4
‧ Maple Leafs 5, Islanders 3
‧ Blues 2, Panthers 1